In the four years or so that have passed since Martin Frawley‘s previous project, Twerps, called it a day, a number of events – both good and bad – have taken place in his life and many are addressed, or in the least hinted at, on his debut solo collection titled Undone At 31.
Opening with ‘You Want Me’, the album gets off to a good, considerably solid start, as Frawley takes the listener on a journey through the past. Lyrically, the song is one that people should be able to connect with as it addresses how unstable and uncertain aspects and moments of life have been for him, but despite said uncertainty, he’s moving forward anyway.
The uncertainty addressed in the opening song continues into its follow-up, ‘End Of The Bar’, although this one comes across a little more emotional. It’s almost as if, whereas Martin Frawley was unsure about how honest he should be on ‘You Want Me’, here he throws caution to the wind and puts his heart out there for everyone to see, feel and hear. Things hit more stable ground with the arrival of ‘What’s On Your Mind’, a rather thrilling few minutes of rock and roll, with a bass beat that certainly had this reviewer smiling.
While the first few songs on the album are good, the two highlights appear somewhere in the middle. Both ‘Just Like The Rest’ and ‘Chain Reaction’ have impressive instrumentation and arrangements to them, and when combined with lyrics that are both emotional, romantic and often thought provoking, the tracks, complete with rather pop undertones, would both make for great releases and are perfect for radio play.
As the album nears its end and proving it’s not always a bad thing to mix things up a bit, Martin Frawley gives the collection a more experimental sounding twist. ‘Something About Me’ brings together a keyboard, violin and bass to create something quite harmonious and beautiful, while there’s a distinctive country sound to ‘Lo and Behold.’ From there, the space like synthesizer sounds on ‘Come Home’ might not suit or appeal to everyone, but closing number ‘Where The Heart Is’ tugs at the heartstrings somewhat, as Martin Frawley rounds off the journey he’s taken the listener on, with a statement of almost contentment about what he’s been through and where he finds himself now.
Undone At 31 is out now on Merge Records.